Will Minneapolis Legalize Marijuana?
MINNEAPOLIS — KMSP 9 Minneapolis reported Tuesday that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is in support of legalizing marijuana to help combat the opioid epidemic. Frey cites research that indicates marijuana could save lives by providing a legal alternative to dangerous prescription drugs.
The mayor sent out a tweet on Tuesday that said "Marijuana legalization is a criminal & racial justice issue. It is an economic issue. And, as researchers are demonstrating, it is an opioid issue that could save lives. We can’t risk even one life being lost as collateral damage in the failed war on drugs.” The tweet included a link to a study that found people in states with legal medical marijuana states had fewer opioid prescriptions.
The mayor said that he authored a medical marijuana bill several years ago and will now push for full marijuana legalization for the city as well as the entire state, saying “To see full legalization, it would need to happen at the state level,” said Frey.
The research Frey cited was conducted by The University of Georgia. Professor W. David Bradford led the study and says that marijuana is safer than opioids and lacks the addictive qualities of opioid prescription drugs. The study concluded that marijuana could aid the opioid epidemic as people rely more on marijuana than painkillers.
Because heroin addicts often began abusing the drug after being prescribed an opioid prescription such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, researchers say that less opioid prescriptions equal less overdoses. They say by people opting to alleviate pain with marijuana will dramatically decrease deaths from opiates by simply eliminating the number of people on them.
The results of the study found that people on Medicare had a 14 percent decrease in prescriptions for opioid drugs prescriptions in medical marijuana states.